New Delhi: Sudhir Kumar, former special director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) breaks his silence and reveals big Ishrat disclosure that was first reported on NewsX on Wednesday.
Let’s have a quick look on what Sudhir Kumar said to Rahul Shivshankhar( Editor- in- chief) of NewsX.
(Also read: Ishrat Jahan case echoes in Parliament, ex-home ministry official gives NewsX second letter )
NewsX: There has been a huge big controversy that whether this input at all was fudged or it was credible or not. How genuine was the input on Ishrat Jahan and her links to Lakshar-E -Taiba (LeT) cell?
Sudhir Kumar: It’s unfortunate to see the issue being lingered for almost as long as 10-12 years, but I for one have had not any sort of doubt that this loop was closely associated with LeT.
I was receiving instructions, had within its components, elements which had been specially inducted into India, extensive coverage over a period of several months had given a clear indication of their intent, their designs and their plans but going back to the year 2001- 2004, one can clearly understand that Lakshar had been targeting ‘India’ in a very big way.
The VIP’s were among their targets and there were several terrors being carried in a perpetrated manner.
News X: Can you please be more precise?
Sudhir Kumar: If I try to be very specific, I would give you the example of a serious act which had been carried out in Akhshardham temple in Gandhinagar.
Sudhir Kumar: It was probably a year or few months before this incident of June 2004 took place.
Apart from that, there have been several other modules which have been neutralised both by the Maharashtra police, Gujarat police and even the Delhi and other state police organisations.
So, there was a total picture if you have to understand, and if you are actually looking for proof, confirmation and credibility of this operation then you will have to look at the larger picture.
This was part of the whole picture and when the IB gathered, collated, analysed and when it was ready for the dissemination of hearing with the state police… like it happens in every normal cases… then the actionable part had been passed on to the Gujarat police. They carried it out and they did it.
News X: So, what does that actually mean?
Sudhir Kumar: My focus in on the role of the IB, the credibility of the intelligence being shared and as far as the thing is concerned, I have been saying that I never had any doubts and I don’t need any sort of certification from any quarters.
If you remember, one point was raised that David Headley had collaborated and if you needed collaboration here was the collaboration and it depends who you want to trust, Kumar was firm on his stand.
“If you are not willing to trust your own security agencies then nobody can help you”, Kumar smiled wittily.
News X: Chidambaram claims that some of the information of the IB wasn’t reliable, is that so?
Sudhir Kumar: The union home minister or the Prime Ministers are by their virtue related to political circumstances. But we, in IB have been professionals. We have dedicated our lives to the organization and to the security of the country. Now, if our professional competence is examined and questioned… of course, it is generally available for the scrutiny of the court but a very small fraction of that is available.
If the home minister or whoever is empowered decides to question the credibility of the organization then I am sorry… I cannot agree with that and I can’t condole that as well.
News X: Don’t you think Chidambaram cannot make such statements just like that?
Sudhir Kumar: If he (Chidambaram) does that very assertively and very strongly, then I will say that he must be having some other agenda of which unfortunately I am not aware of.
News X: Ok, so what sort of agenda here are you talking about and that time you yourself were very much part of the team, GK Pillai (Union Home Secretary) too was there and he feels that there was too much pressure being applied, and now Mr. Mani came out and said he suspects that there was pressure and he himself was tortured and harassed? Rajender Kumar (Ex- IB chief, Gujarat) and your colleague in the IB too have said that top politicians were putting pressure.
Sudhir Kumar: Rajender Kumar was the local station chief at Ahmadabad. He had the responsibility to share the intelligence which was covering the last mile for any actionable intelligence and what I have known from him is I have no professional reason to distrust his capability.
“A highly dedicated person and committed to the court to the ideals of the Bureau and national security.” The incident occurred in 2004, and Mr. GK Pillai in fact came on the scene much later whereby then I had stopped dealing with the national security matters as I had retired and moved on.
News X: Mr. Pillai says that the affidavit had been actually tweaked or there were some changes carried out; he must be reasonably satisfied or convinced about it.
Sudhir Kumar: But why the affidavit was changed should be answered by the concerned person. If I were to speculate on that account then I would only say that there have been systematic things that happened… National Investigation Agencies (NIAs) sort of interrogation and for which the interrogators had gone to US that has been tampered with in the IBs report and if this aspect has been diluted, the LeT connection of the entire group including Ishrat Jahan and the motive is obvious and the idea was to actually influence the court which could have been otherwise impressed upon from where the offices would have defended.
News X: Special Investigation Team (SIT) chief Satish Verma had also said, Sudhir was facilitating some sort of agenda of converting Ishrat Jahan into a terrorist and that he was acting on the instructions, to save Gujarat police officers — revealed by RSV Mani (former home ministry official) to NewsX. What will you say on it?
Sudhir Kumar: When Mr. Verma came on scene? He came on much later as part of the SIT. Verma came much after 2012. Why all the after-thought process occurring at this stage? We must have the answer for this. The information that was on paper that time had been duly examined and we may be able to improve further on that and then the CBI officers and the SIT chief’s sort of pass value judgement on the IB’s conduct. What do these people know of IB?
I do not need to go into the details as its a very sensitive matter to how the needs and information is pursued… For me it is the IB chief who should be responsible. Nobody can question nobody’s credibility.
News X: The question has been frequently raised that it was a fake encounter and it was all zest up based on faulty IB’s information.
Sudhir Kumar: There are two parts for it — whether you are questioning the credibility of intelligence or you are questioning the credibility of the encounter.
I am competent to talk about the credibility of the intelligence and I can swear by the credibility of the intelligence — by my own accountability to the organization which I was part of for 25 years and if somebody questions my credibility then I will very assertively oppose that.
News X: So, you agree there is political conspiracy behind it?
Sudhir Kumar: There is no doubt that political conspiracy was a part of it to build up the defence of the accused, which is very unfortunate. Whether it was directed against the IB or not but the damage was caused to IB. It is the attitude to manipulate the investigation and its outcome and this is what I oppose.